By Henry Peters
GOLFERS from around the world are just weeks away from savouring world-class golf on King Island with Ocean Dunes announcing it will open its front nine to the public on October 30 to coincide with the full course opening of nearby Cape Wickham.
Ocean Dunes director and course architect Graeme Grant had originally been optimistic of opening 12 holes by the end of October but has decided to focus energies on providing a pristine front nine for avid golfers itching to fly down to what will become a golfing oasis in the middle of Bass Strait.
“We’re working on our turf maintenance on the front nine to ensure that it’s as good as it can be when we open,” Grant said from the spectacular coastal course. “The fairways on the front nine are already very good and will be even better come October 30.”
Grant revealed that the greens on the front nine at Ocean Dunes are already suitable for play and, with further care, should be in first-class condition.
“Until lately, our entire focus has been on the construction of the course, so the completed greens have not received full attention as yet. We are now putting more time into surface preparation with regular cutting, de-thatching and dusting so the turf is becoming finer every day. By the end of October, the putting surfaces should be fast and true. Mind you, not too fast. We aim to have the turf quality compliment the design of the course and the special nature of the site.”
Ocean Dunes remains in position to open its full 18 holes by February 2016.
The common green of the 12th and 15th is being formed and the 12th and 15th fairways are now being irrigated, while grassing on those holes is expected to begin imminently.
Grant has admitted to feeling excitement with the finish line in sight, after spending close to two and a half years living and working on King Island.
“We’re nearing completion, the 12th & 15th are only two or three weeks away from sowing and with hardly any earth to move on the 13th and 14th, all of us are looking forward to the new year. The natural terrain of 13 and 14 is perfect for golf, high above the coastline and so spectacular that we wouldn’t dare tamper with it.”
Grant said the middle holes on the back nine, in particular the par-three 14th, offer the most magical views on the entire property. At just 105 metres in length, the 14th is far from a beast, but with a drop of close to 20 metres to the green, its promises to be among the most memorable downhill par-threes in golf.
More information at www.oceandunes.com.au
* Henry Peters is a well known Australian golf writer